Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Luke Doucet

"I know, he's everywhere right now right? Check out number 4. It's the song Jeff Tweedy never wrote." That's what my co-worker said and unlike my co-worker, I don't know every Wilco song nor was I there for the commencement and fall of Uncle Tupelo. I couldn't have put it any clearer, but i get it and I fully believe him.

Luke Doucet And White Falcon - Cleveland

I'm not sure why I feel like I've heard his name every hour on the hour over the past two weeks. Maybe it's a familiar name. Born in Nova Scotia, Luke Doucet got his first guitar when he was 13 years old. The term "travelin' man in a blues band" seems to be thrown around like a mystical story reserved for those that only made it far enough to open a bar in the middle of nowhere. But with Doucet, it's a dead ringer. He traveled solo across Canada, from distant city to city on Greyhound, before he was ten. By 15, he was in his father's blues band and after graduating high school, the young Doucet found a stage playing in Sarah McLachlan's band. Doucet now has five solo albums, all from Toronto's Six Shooter Records. His most recent album (and where you'll find "Track number 4" aka. "Cleveland") is from 2008's Blood's Too Rich; and although it is still a solo Doucet project, he pays homage to his circa 1955 Gretsch White Falcon guitar by crediting the artist as "Luke Doucet and White Falcon."

Luke Doucet - Blood's Too Rich

Monday, June 29, 2009

Now...I'm At eTown

It's not my longest drought, but I've been neglecting the blog for a bit. Several of my avid readers knew of my position in the music industry at the radio consulting firm that also had many fingers in the online and retail realm of music delivery. I'm happy to say that after 4 years of growing with them and knee deep in the muck and glamour that is the music industry, I was offered the New Media/Audience Development position at eTown. I still get to ride my bike to work. Only now, I get to ride toward the downtown part of Boulder, past the stunning Flatirons, alongside the river and sit in an office that is literally a stones throw from hiking trails and deer crossings.

I'm not going to shy away from self promotion when I do know it's a great company promoting a great cause. I'm still supervising music licensing projects and producing soundtracks when I have time. At eTown, I still get to see the most fascinating emerging artists in juxtaposition to legendary icons. In addition, we hope that with the format of the show and the projected growth on our horizon, eTown will not only be a prime outlet to watch and learn about musicians, but a place where social issues and intelligent conversation can surface to a greater public.

Who's perfomed at eTown? Several thousand musicians, including some of these names: Ray LaMontagne, Keb' Mo', Gregory Alan Isakov, Steve Earle, Josh Ritter, Sam Bush, J.J. Cale, James Taylor, Devotchka, Alexi Murdoch, David Gray, Nickel Creek, Ben Harper, T-Bone Burnette, Ted Hawkins, Michael Franti, Mavis Staples, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Guster, Marc Cohn, Odetta........

A new site is in the works which will serve as a blueprint to more stuff to come. In the meantime, here is eTown.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Low Anthem

What comes out of Providence, Rhode Island other than a Farrelly brothers flick? Comprising of a NASA technician, a jazz bassist-slash-"baseball scholar" and a painter, The Low Anthem has had a breakout year already performing South By, Bonnaroo, Coachella, Lollapalooza and Newport - ALL IN 2009. The band initially met at Brown University and is now on tour across the globe with stints with Dave Matthews, The Fleet Foxes, Langhorne Slim, Joe Pug, M. Ward...and the list goes on.

The Low Anthem just released their album,Oh My God, Charlie Darwin, from Nonesuch/Bella Union on June 8th. I'll admit I haven't gone through the entire album, but the four I've been running on repeat have my spine chilling. The three members of The Low Anthem construct balanced harmonies with the backing of their their 30+ instruments played between the trio. Here's a taste...

The Low Anthem - Charlie Darwin

Friday, June 12, 2009

It Might Get Loud

My friend Patrick provided the tip on the new movie, It Might Get Loud, set to hit theaters on August 14th.

As told from the press kit:
It Might Get Loud isn’t like any other rock’n roll documentary. Filmed through the eyes of three virtuosos from three different generations, audiences get up close and personal, discovering how a furniture upholsterer from Detroit, a studio musician and painter from London and a seventeen–year–old Dublin schoolboy, each used the electric guitar to develop their unique sound and rise to the pantheon of superstar. Rare discussions are provoked as we travel with Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White to influential locations of their pasts. Born from the experience is intimate access to the creative genesis of each legend, such as Link Wray’s “Rumble’s” searing impression upon Jimmy Page, who surprises audiences with an impromptu air guitar performance. But that’s only the beginning.

While each guitarist describes his own musical rebellion, a rock’n roll summit is being arranged. Set on an empty soundstage, the musicians come together, crank up the amps and play. They also share their influences, swap stories, and teach each other songs. During the summit Page’s double–neck guitar, The Edge’s array of effects pedals and White’s new mic, custom built into his guitar, go live. The musical journey is joined by visual grandeur too. We see the stone halls of Headley Grange where “Stairway to Heaven” was composed, visit a haunting Tennessee farmhouse where Jack White writes a song on–camera, and eavesdrop inside the dimly lit Dublin studio where The Edge lays down initial guitar tracks for U2’s forthcoming single. The images, like the stories, will linger in the mind long after the reverb fades.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Willem Maker's Mark

Wanna know how to piss off a person who has access to new tunes across the board and listens to new music every single day? Give him another 600 songs he hasn't heard that are right up his alley. First, because I blame myself for not knowing WHY I didn't know about the artist and second, because...well...it's overwhelming. I can't post on all the tunes my separated-at-birth-music-twin Jeremy Kay gives me. Hell, I have been working for over a month now to get through the initial barrage of tunes he dumped in my lap. Here is an average song he gave me...which says a lot to his taste AND because this artist is ANYTHING but.
Willem Maker. Sounds scruffy right? Like he came straight from a southern porch scene? You're probably right. Willem Maker comes to us from the hills of Turkey Heaven Mountain (I'm not making this up), in Cleburn County on the east side of Alabama. Joining such staple porch-bred powerhouses like AA Bondy, Junior Kimbrough, Andrew Bird, Townes Van Zandt and the Black Keys, Willem Maker appropriately finds himself part of the Fat Possum Records line-up.

Willem Maker stepped out of the acoustic performances and bedroom demos with his rookie release in 2007. Maker now offers some more southern comfort with his 12-track New Moon Hand. Mr. JK sent me the lead-track yesterday brimming with whiskey scratched vocals, an honest tune of resonating slide guitar and the feeling that took me away from my desk and plopped me on a wooden slat porch overlooking a dirty river. When the song finished, I looked back at my computer. That sucked. Thanks JK.

Willem Maker - Black Beach Boogie

If this suits your fancy, scroll down on the blog as this song is a bull's eye in my library. Or, check out Joe Pug, William Elliot Whitmore, Lucero, Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band or Stoll Vaughan.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sometimes It's Not About The Music

There are lot of heavy hearts in Boulder this week. The international climbing community and several families and friends got rocked this week when it was announced that Boulder's own, Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson lost their lives in an avalanche in the deeply remote region of southwest China while attempting to be the first to climb the 22,368-foot Mount Edgar (pictured above). It was so remote and such a feat, that the mountain has not only been unclimbed, but has never even been approached. We may soon find out if someone in this trip was able to reach the summit. Regardless, I have expressed my condolences and thoughts on the matter to the specific people within this situation. To me, this blog is not going to serve as my emotional outlet that accompanies losing friends and business associates. What is it about then? I won't get started. But, here are pictures of Jonny, Wade and Micah.

The video excerpt below, produced by Wade Johnson, was a project in which I served as music supervisor and briefly captures Johnny Copp and Micah Dash in their backyard playground. Ironically, they briefly talk about confronting death in their daily endeavors. They lived to explore and frolicked in the most breathtaking and remote regions on earth. They died doing what they loved most...playing in their larger-than-life jungle gym.

Excerpt from The Sharp End courtesy of Renan Ozturk

To donate to the ongoing search and recovery of their bodies, or learn more about the situation and the lives of these marvelous gentlemen, please don't hesitate to visit the links below.

The Adventure Film Festival/search and donation headquarters
Jonny Copp's personal website
Jonny Copp's bio via patagonia.com
Letter from the parents of Wade Johnson
Sender Films
Micah Dash's bio courtesy of Mountain Hardware
Micah Dash's blog

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kings Of Leon ARE the cool guys that don't look at explosions

My favorite song off of Only By The Night now has an accompanying video. Just a few years ago the Followill brothers were constricted by a well-received debut album that lacked the pop-glam to further their exposure beyond the indie-alt basement scene. Add in another album, multiple festival appearances, some Saturday Night Live and Late Show appearances, an MTV Video Awards performance, and backing by RCA...and well, some damn nice rock vocals and catchy tunes with a likeable face...and Kings of Leon are still making waves. This time with "Notion," the third single off of KOL's most recent album.

Yesterday, the KOL online premier of "Notion" became available on their Myspace page. Nothing to write home about, but it'll satisfy any KOL fan...or female under the age of 40.

Fire? Check. Bad ass "I don't give a shit" attitude? Check. Smoldering light bulb in worn-down warehouse? You bettcha. Singing into a brick wall and hawking a lugie on the stage floor (1:26 in). All systems go. Ok, ok...I still love the song and hell, I can't talk too bad about the video...Caleb is telling me the entire time: "don't knock it, don't knock it..." But wait! There's more!

Is it ironic timing that this fire and explosion-filled video premiered the day after Andy Samberg's penultimate tribute to the cool guys that don't look at explosions? I think not. The KOL crew are indeed the epitome of cool cats. Here's Samberg's statement:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Miley Vs. The Boss

I could've posted on the new Wilco release or even the Buckley CD/DVD release of his live cuts. Nope, I'm not because that's not chapping my ass right now.

Hear me out. I GET MTV's demographic. I know the MTV Video Awards are mostly silly, viral and really don't count for much. I get that I was probably one of the few television viewers that was over the age of 25 but hey, I'm an Andy Samberg fan. So given it was just the measly MTV Movie Awards full of bare-assed angels flying around and mumbling award recipients, why am I cranky?

Because even in the hoo-hah land of MTV and their Clash and Ramones t-shirt wearing fans, how or lord, how was Miley Cyrus' song voted above Bruce Springsteen's?

Folks, I don't have the answer and never will. OK, I'm not really cranky as I know the reality of it all...but I do wonder if Bruce even knew he was up for an award against Paramore or Miley. But for shits and giggles, let's take a look at how MTV explained the two songs so we can at least offer Miley some credit for the deep seriousness of her song, "The Climb" which I'm guessing, she didn't even write.

MTV says:
Miley Cyrus "The Climb"
Miley's ballad is all about staying optimistic in the face of tough decisions, like choosing between regular life and your secret pop star alter-ego.

Bruce Springsteen "The Wrestler"
This eponymous song is based on the real life lost-and-found friendship between The Boss and 'Wrestler'-lead Mickey Rourke.

Must be tough to choose between a regular life of a millionaire on a ranch and being a pop-star millionaire with a ranch to fall back on. Hey - that should be a song!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Rusted Root is back!

Ok, I'm back...off of a quite lazy spell and have actually been hearing the guff, nagging, and groaning about the need for new music updates from many of you via email. Thanks.

More importantly, one of my favorites from back in the hay day, Rusted Rood is back. (or is it "hey day"? Me thinketh it's "hay" as in a farmer reference).

Yes, Rusted Root is back after a 7 year studio hiatus. The Pittsburgh group have sold over 3 million records world wide mostly due to "Send Me On My Way," the hit you've heard in movies and on radio waves over the last decade. Although you haven't heard much else from them, be weary that they've been anything but stagnant. Over 6 albums and multiple movie scores (Twister, Mathilda, Party of Five, Charmed, Ice Age, etc.) have kept them in the lime light...and I just learned that "Send Me On My Way" was also chosen by NASA to wake up the crew on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

Although Rusted Root's new album, Stereo Rodeo, has been available online since March, the big release is now, during the pre-lull of the summer season...and thank God, we need some good music. Original members, Michael Glabicki, Patrick Norman and Liz Berlin, are joined by a small slew of backing band members on this album. As Glabicki says, "Labeling is dangerous and limiting...We are a band made up of individual musicians who come together collectively to create music, call it what you want but we are simply creating music that has a message.” In Stereo Rodeo, you'll not only hear the pulsating rhythms and chant-like howls they are known for, but deeper political and historically-influenced themes and lyrics.

Rusted Root - Dance In The Middle

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Alexi Murdoch - Away We Go

Alexi Murdoch finally scored a film. The first time I heard Alexi's "Blue Mind," I knew it was going to be my masterpiece when I placed it in an epic scene in a film I worked with. The moment I heard his "Orange Sky" appear in an underground action-adventure climbing film (Pilgrimage) and then in the background of Braff's dramedy of Garden State, it was so clear to see how a melodic tune from a quiet singer-songwriter can enhance both scenes that you'd never imagine in juxtaposition. That's one reason why I love Alexi Murdoch and why my heart skipped a beat the very moment I heard the first song notes of this trailer.

Comedians John Krasinski (The Office) and Maya Ruldolph (SNL) appear in Academy Award winning director Sam Mendes' (American Beauty, Revolutionary Road) new film from Focus Features, Away We Go. The trailer, full of a packed cast and strong emotional and comedy pulls, seems fully heightened due to the melodic and sombersome sounds and driving perfection that Alexi adds with the song "All My Days" (see below). I can't wait to see this flick.

Murdoch is offering a free download of the song heard in the trailer, here. The soundtrack will be available digitally on June 2nd while the physical CD will become available on June 23rd. The track listing for the original soundtrack is as follows:
2. Blue Mind
3. What Is Life (George Harrison)
4. Song For You
5. Golden Brown (The Stranglers)
6. Towards The Sun
7. Meet Me In The Morning (Bob Dylan)
8. Breathe
9. Wait
10. The Ragged Sea
11. Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ (The Velvet Underground)
12. Orange Sky
13. Crinan Wood (bonus track)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Herzig. Dawes.

Ahhh...one day, two great artists.

Katie Herzig
Katie Herzig - Wish You Well
The one artist I get giddy around! One of the very few artists that I can say I've seen develop from performing bar gigs into headlining the last scene on Grey's Anatomy that made you ball your eyes out. Herzig's absolutely gorgeous song, "Wish You Well" was featured today on NPR's Song of The Day. Read more about her and the song here. For the Tempo's previous post on Herzig, click here

The marvelous blog crew over at Daytrotter just posted some fresh content on the enigma of a band that is Dawes. Head over there and get your fill of the band, free song downloads from their session at Daytrotter, and info about each song. The Tempo's previous post on Dawes can be found here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Scrubs and Me.

I'm not really sure how I got into the music business or furthermore, how I ended up starting a music supervision (soundtracks) company. It could've been the countless times my mom played Paul Simon and Manfred Mann while doing yardwork. It could've been that I had nothing better to do. It may have been the high school spanish films we made for classes and how excited I got when I edited in my favorite songs to back-up any dialog and action. Or...maybe even Dawson's Creek, Scrubs, Top Gun and various other movies that so perfectly enhanced their theatrics with the perfect soundtrack.

I've been on a Scrubs kick lately, as I usually am during such times - re-watching the best they offered during Seasons 1-3, which also happens to be a great example of tv using songs to further their impact.

Did it start with 90210 or did Juno and Grey's Anatomy make you think about music with film? Most my age probably relate to how amazing the Garden State soundtrack turned out because it ditched norms of using headlining acts like Shawn Colvin or U2 and focused on the indie/emerging scene. No offense to the soundtrack, but making that mix is SIMPLE. Saying that, I do applaud Braff for using his role/power in the industry to share his love of emerging and blanketed artists like Imogen Heap, Alexi Murdoch, Schuyler Fisk, Iron & Wine and even re-introducing deep Simon and Garfunkel gems to my generation. let's be honest, Braff knows his shit (music) and moreso, how to use it (music, of course) effectively.

But to me, Scrubs was where it was at. It surpassed Dawson's Creek and 90210 in the depth at how it used music. It was the prequel to what Grey's Anatomy, The OC, Chuck, and maybe what The Hills are emerging into. Sure it's a comedy, but you'd be surprised at the transition into the serious roles it develops into and how the music expedites this. The depth of artists and frequency of incorporating them into the theme was not seen, in my opinion, until Braff and Co. at Scrubs took the plunge. Who is responsible for the music at Scrubs? I know Braff did help quite a bit in convincing the director and music supervisor on the use of certain songs. Braff himself also ended up directing numerous episodes through the seasons. And...Braff specifically helped launch the career of his college friend, Joshua Radin, and re-launch the career of ex-Men At Work singer, Colin Hay. Through Scrubs, Braff either continually exposed or introduced me to some of my now-favorite artists/songs and moments in television. He even included several artists performing their songs on camera, such as Colin Hay and The Polyphonic Spree. Here's a slight recap of moments and some songs that have been doing their number on me lately:

Nil Lara - Fighting For My Love

Erasure - A Little Respect

Finger Eleven - One Thing

Joshua Radin - Closer
(2:15 in)

Eels - Fresh Feeling

Appreaing: Polyphonic Spree - Light and Day/Reach For the Sun

Colin Hay - Waiting For My Real Life To Begin
Appearing: Colin Hay - Overkill

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Joshua James

The Ghost.
The God.
The Devil.

Hell, it nearly sounds cliche and almost trite. But if you've had a chance to see Joshua James and hear the background behind some of his ballads, you'd find they are true stories and not a vivid imagination captured by great songwriting. I've seen him three times now, all by accident. The last time, I watched his tiny frame belt echoes and drop jaws throughout the overwhelming and sold out Ellie Caulkins Opera House before Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova took stage. It was his brief but heart-aching intros to each song that really left an uncomfortable stain on your face when listening to his songs. Horrific deaths in his family. Family substance abuse problems. Friends losing fathers prematurely. A unique view of the holocaust from the view of a child.

From his site:
“I used to isolate myself in my parents basement, away from my five siblings, and devour records by Dylan, Marley and The Doors,” says James. These influences are clear in the simple beauty of his songs, deconstructed yet complicated. One could say his material deals in the contrast of absolutes: Love and Hate, Life and Death, Good and Evil, Pleasure and Pain. “It’s not all black and white, I do enjoy intricacy in my story telling,” states Joshua. “But leaving the gray area there for the audience to draw from often means more."

Joshua James - FM Radio

From his homebases in Lincoln, NE to Utah, Joshua James is on tour now supporting dates for Ani DiFranco, The Duhks and a slew with Rocco Deluca. Aside from his very well-received debut album, The Sun Is Always Brighter, James has also released Sing Songs, an EP of songs that didn't make the final cut for another project, available here from North Platte Records. I strongly suggest the entire first album and also taking a stroll to his MySpace and check out songs that are only available by recommended purchase, such as "Crash This Train," "Ribbon Bows," and "Baby Boy." All full of heartbroken whispers.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pertinent songs for pertinent times:
Grey Room

A random post is what you get for random times. A pertinent song for pertinent situations. A rather somber and gray song for a sunny Colorado day and happy camper.

"Grey Room" by Damien Rice is one of my most coveted songs. The reasoning behind this songwriting, his voice, his temperament and the awaited crescendo building up to his plea of momentous words near the 4-minute mark. That clashing of symbols and Rice's realization at the end, erupt. Most of you that know Damien Rice (probably not personally), know he sings about some pretty damn troubling and disheartening situations and doesn't really have a bottle of sunshine in his catalog. You're most likely right. Well, at least with this song, he tried. Rice explains:
This song is about writing songs that are always down and it was ironic because I found myself in that moment where I was down and I was down about the fact that i was writing songs that are down so I wrote another down song...

Although it's one of my favorites, this song has come to my attention (unwarranted) this week by four different people, for two different reasons and in three different & unrelated outings. Ironic? Am I down? Judge as you are free to do. But to me, the lyrics near the end have an uplifting soaring roar to them and though this is another gray song, I think it has a great silver lining. At least to me...

Damien Rice - Grey Room

D. Rice
Grey Room

well i've been here before
sat on the floor in a grey grey room
where i stay in all day
i don't eat, but i play with this grey grey food
desole, if someone is prayin' then i might break out,
desole, even if i scream i can't scream that loud
i'm all alone again
crawling back home again
stuck by the phone again
well i've been here before
sat on a floor in a grey grey mood
where i stay up all night
and all that i write is a grey grey tune
so pray for me child, just for a while
that i might break out yeah
pray for me child
even a smile would do for now
'cause i'm all alone again
crawling back home again
stuck by the phone again
have i still got you to be my open door?
have i still got you to be my sandy shore?
have i still got you to cross my bridge in this storm?
have i still got you to keep me warm?
if i squeeze my grape, then i drink my wine
coz if i squeeze my grape, then i drink my wine
oh coz nothing is lost, it's just frozen in frost,
and it's opening time, there's no-one in line
but i've still got me to be your open door,
i've still got me to be your sandy shore
i've still got me to cross your bridge in this storm
and i've still got me to keep you warm
warmer than warm, yeah

Monday, April 20, 2009

Old Crow debuts a new video

I'd hesitate to call Old Crow Medicine Show a country band. Screw it, I wouldn't. But, last time I called something on this blog with a tinge of "newgrass" or non-traditional sounds accompanying traditional bluegrass as actual "bluegrass," I got an earful. Anywhoo...maybe Old Crow are scream-o hard rock since they use amps and hollar a lot on stage.

It's been out for some time, but the accompanying video for "Caroline" is now ready for your viewing pleasure

My comments? Eh. I LOVE this band. The most energy I've ever seen on stage was watching Old Crow deafen the audio engineers ears at Boulder Theater...twice. This video is just ok and though it IS for CMT viewers, I prefer the more rompin' stompin' version of OCMS that I have become drawn to. More along the lines of this

And it certainly isn't as Joe Cool as the laid-back-swagger video for their Dylan ballad which put them on the map

Ketch, Willie, Morgan, Critter, Kevin and Gill are on tour now supporting Dave Matthews for a few shows and also appearing with another Mountain Tempo favorite on others-Justin Townes Earle! Nope, they're not coming to Colorado either. FML.